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Jennifer Botto - Thorn & Bloom

My passion for the olfactory arts began in my childhood, on my family farm in northern NY. Prior to our tenure, the land hosted an heirloom peony farm, as peonies love the crisp cool springtime air of the north country. Upon our arrival, only a few bushes remained sprinkled around the property, which my mother lovingly transplanted into a pretty border along the roadside. One of my fondest memories is running outside on a warm late spring day to sniff these beauties in their full flower, pausing at each one like a little buzzing bee just out of the hive.

As a near-sighted child, I would often remove my eye glasses to reveal a whole new magnified world of intricate detail and rich depth of field. I’d stick my nose in peony blooms as big as my head and marveled at the miniature fragrant world of intoxicated ants disappearing into infinite folds of velveteen petals. I take a lot of inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe. In her paintings, she magnified the innermost world of flowers and forced the viewer to really pay attention to details otherwise overlooked.

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”
-Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Her intimate examination of flowers for painting is very similar to my study of aromatics for blending. When creating a perfume, I must become familiar with each aromatic’s molecular profile in order to create a beautiful and balanced composition. Perfumery allows me to inspect and appreciate the natural world in a very up-close and personal way.

On our farm, each passing season brought with it aromatic gifts just as glorious as the spring peonies. Summer exhaled sour wild strawberries and sun-scorched earth. Autumn breathed musty mounds of leaves and ancient apple trees hidden in forgotten hedgerows. Winter whispered plumes of smoke from spent fires and boiling sap amongst the evergreens. As a city dweller of late, I often find myself lost in deep nostalgia for the sensory experiences that shaped my world. This desire for connection led me to start experimenting with scent as a means to transport myself outside the city’s boundaries, and into the great outdoors of my youth. It is in this spirit of biophilia that I choose to create 100% botanical perfumes. I see botanical perfumery as a way to help preserve traditional growing, harvesting and extraction methods for rare aromatics that would otherwise be forgotten if it weren’t for the demand of natural perfumers.